Opposition parties allege EVM fraud
India poll officials deny vote allegations
NEW DELHI, May 21: India's main opposition parties on Tuesday alleged voting fraud in the country's general election, days after exit polls predicted a comfortable win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling right-wing party.
Members of as many as 22 parties called on the poll watchdog and demanded that electronic machines used to record votes be guarded more stringently, and that counting be done in a fair and transparent manner.
Opposition parties met the election watchdog to demand more transparency in counting of votes on 23 May. Election Commission has denied allegations that voting machines had been tampered with in parts of India.
Opposition leaders -- including from the main Congress party -- said Tuesday the Election Commission must ensure voting machines were not manipulated in any way.
Opposition leaders said the EC had to ensure that there was no possibility of anybody manipulating the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which were used to record votes in the general election that concluded on Sunday.
In Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur constituency, a candidate belonging to the opposition Bahujan Samaj Party held a protest outside a room where the machines have been stored ahead of the counting. The candidate alleged that attempts were being made to take out the machines from the storage room.
Local officials have said the allegations are baseless. In Chandauli constituency, supporters of Samajwadi Party have circulated a mobile phone clip, alleging that some machines were being brought to the counting station on Monday, a day after the election.
Local officials have said the machines shown in the video are reserve machines which had been brought from another part of the constituency because of logistical reasons. The Election Commission has insisted that "proper security and protocol" was maintained in storing the electronic voting machines.
The move comes after a slew of exit polls predicted that the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would get a comfortable majority in parliament to form a government.
Sitaram Yechury from the Left Front said the EC was "yet to come out with a mechanism" to deal with a mismatch between an EVM result and the corresponding paper trail.
During voting, EVMs are connected to a Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine, which dispenses a slip of paper with the symbol of the party the voter selected.
The Supreme Court has ordered the EC to tally the results from five EVMs with VVPAT receipts in at least five polling stations in every assembly seat. A parliamentary constituency comprises several assembly seats. -AFP